STUC 2023 – World Cup legacy must be protections for migrant workers

Congress was warned that although the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is over, the impact continues on the families of those who died in the construction of the stadiums or those who were injured.

Aberdeen Trade Union Council’s motion called for a high profile campaign to keep up the pressure on the Qatari government to pay compensation to these workers and their families.

Supporting the motion UNISON Scotland’s Tony Caleary, co-chair of the International Committee reminded that Qatar relied on two million migrant workers, 95% of Qatar’s labour force, to complete its huge infrastructure projects.

He supported calls for compensation but said we need to be more ambitious and “call for recompense for those who have experienced ruthless exploitation including LGBT+ migrant workers who endured added discrimination at the hands of Qatar’s security services.

“With pressure from the international trade union movement, Qatar has made key reforms to its labour laws, including reforming the “kafala” system.  However, many employers still continue to exploit and abuse workers with impunity.

“As businesses involved in the building the infrastructure pack up to head home, thousands of migrant workers now find themselves stranded far from home and family, often burdened with debt to exploitative employers who charged them illegal recruitment fees and with-held wages.”

He expressed the fear of migrant workers that when the spotlight on Qatar fades, the global scrutiny over their working conditions will disappear as migrant workers have no right to form or join trade unions in Qatar.

UNISON, alongside the BWI and TUC, is demanding that a Migrant Workers Centre is created in Qatar as the key legacy of the World Cup.

“After the players and the media come home, UNISON will remain standing up for Qatar’s migrant workers.

“Please support the call for compensation. Please support the call for a Migrant Workers’ Centre.”